I’m getting more comfortable writing the musical sections of Rocky and Dex’s stories. I don’t play an instrument, but I’m seeing that, even though as the quote says, “writing about music is like dancing about architecture,” there are enough parallels to make it possible. I watched a fairly interesting short documentary yesterday on David Bowie, and as I watched his session musicians show how songs like “China Girl” or “Fame” developed in the studio, I thought, wow, that’s insanely creative, to improvise like that, to just take a theme and spin it into something new. How do they do that!
But then, isn’t that what I do? Take a theme in M/M romance like “football player” or “military guy” or “rock star,” and spin it, turn it into something more, take those paper-doll tropes and put some meat on their bones? Improvise, create on the fly? Every morning I’m either working on an outline, or executing the outline. But some mornings, improvisation kicks in, the narrative flies in a direction the outline could never have anticipated. And I find myself deleting paragraph after paragraph of outline, nope nope, that’s wrong now. Suddenly a character or a relationship is changed. I know I do it, I plan for it, really – in my outlines I sometimes write a note that just says, “insert snappy dialogue here,” with the confidence in my abilities that, come time for it, I’ll snap just fine, and I do, because that’s what I do 🙂
So yeah, I don’t play an instrument, I can’t get in the head of a musician precisely. But I understand the creative process, and that’s really what you’re writing about. Even if you were a musician, you wouldn’t write for a general audience about “plectrums” or “sweep arpeggios” when describing a performance. You’d have to translate it into something about how it feels to play it or hear it.
And, after a few false starts over the years, I’m seriously prepping to try and learn to play guitar again. (Yeah, there’s a lot of hesitation in that sentence.) It’s harder to restart something you’ve failed at than to start something new, of course – you have that “failure baggage” hanging over your head. The last thing I want to do is try again, and fail again – and I failed not because I’m not “good enough,” but because I didn’t stick with it. My failure wasn’t technical, it was mental. But I’m thinking maybe now I can do it. It’s weird – for me to do it, there has to be no pressure, nothing to spoil the fun, it can’t feel like a job or a school assignment. But there also has to be some commitment, so it’s not something half-ass, where I just bang on it randomly when I “feel like it,” like Dex’s drunken dad. It has to be like work or school in that there has to be a schedule of some kind, a plan of some sort.
Music, after all, would be a creative outlet where the only thing I have to do is enjoy it. Writing has the burden of being “the only thing that might ever make me truly solvent,” so there’s always the financial pressure behind my compulsive hourly sales-checking and blog-traffic measurement and Facebook likes on my promo posts. Music could be something that’s just for me…